The networks have already declared Mitt Romney the winner of the New Hampshire primary, giving him an extraordinary sweep of the first two states to vote. Second place has also apparently been decided with the runner-up title going to libertarian extremist Ron Paul. That will keep Paul’s buzz up in the coming days, but it also means something else: the end of Jon Huntsman’s hopes for a breakout night in New Hampshire.
Huntsman bet everything on a huge showing in New Hampshire hoping that Democrats and independents would make him relevant. But a third place showing isn’t good enough. Of course, even if he had finished second it was difficult to see a path to contention for Huntsman, but a third place finish ensures that he is finished. Huntsman has enough of his father’s money in his pocket to go on campaigning as long as he likes, but defeat in New Hampshire means that this liberal’s idea of a conservative will soon fade from the spotlight.